DOJ Tells Court to Ignore Trump on ‘Sanctuary Cities’

A Justice Department lawyer told the federal appeals court in San Francisco to disregard comments by President Trump about withholding grants to places that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement.

A Justice Department lawyer defending an order by President Trump on “sanctuary cities” found himself in the familiar position of asking a federal court to ignore Trump’s own statements on the subject, reports Politico. The order sought to ban federal grants to jurisdictions that limit their involvement in federal immigration enforcement. Last year, a federal judge in San Francisco blocked that part of the order, saying it appeared intended to intimidate local and state officials by using the threat of withholding a broad swath of federal funding. DOJ lawyer Chad Readler told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday that the Trump directive simply urged compliance with federal law.

Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said, “We have a lot of statements being made by the president that he wants to withhold grant money from sanctuary cities. What are we to make of that?” Readler urged the judges to disregard Trump’s comments. The cities of San Francisco and Santa Clara urged the court to preserve Judge William Orrick’s order. The Trump administration is fighting separate injunctions issued by Orrick and by judges in Philadelphia and Chicago that block new Justice Department grant requirements issued last July aimed at persuading cities and states to cooperate with immigration enforcement efforts.